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Virat Kohli and Joe Root, India-England Test Series  |  Photo Credits: AP
- India’s tour of England 2021 – Test series will start today
- In the first test, the hosts England and the Indian cricket team will face each other at Trent Bridge (Nottingham).
- Five test match series to be played between India and England
The toughest four months of Virat Kohli’s captaincy career begin in Nottingham today (Wednesday) when his strategy to pick the perfect Indian team combination for the first Test of the five-Test series against England will be put to the test. (IND vs ENG 1st Test). Kohli had announced the playing XI for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand a few days before the match and faced criticism for not respecting the conditions.
Kohli will have to do a lot of thinking to balance the team on Wednesday. India’s lower order is very tall which fails to score most of the runs. The team has only two openers out of which Rohit Sharma is very capable but he has not opened the innings in Test matches in England conditions.
All eyes on Rahul
The other opener, Lokesh Rahul, is extremely talented but hesitant to open the innings. Rahul scored over 2000 runs in Tests and is the logical choice to partner with Rohit after Mayank Agarwal suffered a head injury.
Will Abhimanyu be picked in the team? Or Hanuma Vihari would be the option
Apart from this, the team will miss Hardik Pandya as well as the usefulness of two specialist spinners can also be questioned. Bengal’s Abhimanyu Easwaran last played a first-class match in March 2000 and had a poor performance that season. In such a situation, will the team take the risk by choosing him? This will be a big decision. In such a situation, eyes will be on Hanuma Vihari, who has faced the new ball once in Australia. With Vihari’s off-spin bowling and Ravichandran Ashwin’s presence, there could be an opportunity for Shardul Thakur to play in the team and as a bowling all-rounder, he may be preferred over the experienced Ravindra Jadeja.
How can the team be selected among bowlers
Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma are the leaders of the fast bowling attack but they are getting old. Jasprit Bumrah may not have achieved the same success as a Test bowler after suffering a groin stress fracture in 2019 but his good performance in the previous series could give him a chance to play in the opening Test.
But what will happen to India’s fastest and in-form bowler Mohammad Siraj, whose fast-paced ball hit the helmet after Mayank Agarwal was ruled out of the Test match. It will not be easy for the captain to ignore Siraj’s challenge.
Some other challenges before Virat
Questions were raised about Kohli’s captaincy on the last tour of England when he picked Kuldeep Yadav in the team on a grass-filled pitch at Lord’s. Similarly, despite cloudy skies, he picked Jadeja to strengthen the batting and did not get enough bowling from him later.
After getting a century in the last first-class match and ample preparation time, Rahul will be full of confidence. He was also in good form in the match between the two teams of India and will now be eager to play shots instead of carrying drinks on the field. India have demolished the opposition teams in conditions conducive to spin on home soil. But if we talk about the team’s performance in England, the team has lost 11 out of 14 Tests in the last three tours and during this time Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the captain in two series.
Kohli was part of the team in the 2014 series when India lost 1-3 and the vice-captain had failed miserably with the bat.
Kohli returned more committed in 2018 and scored a lot of runs but poor team selection at Lord’s and poor batting in a season at Southampton cost India a 1-4 loss.
Duke balls, Anderson-Broad pair and grassy pitch
The Indian team will once again face the challenge of facing James Anderson and Stuart Broad with Duke balls. The experienced pair of Anderson and Broad will be supported by one of the world’s fastest bowlers, Mark Wood and young Olly Robinson. The road to Kohli and the top order will not be easy on the grassy pitch of Trentbridge. In such a situation, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, who faced criticism recently, will have to do something special. Their place in the team is not in danger right now but there are alternatives like Suryakumar Yadav (flying from Colombo today) and if these players do not perform then it will not be easy to keep talented players out of the team.
Will Captain Joe Root do the rotation?
Joe Root can rotate Broad and Anderson in a tight Test series considering their age. England captain Root, however, has admitted that Ben Stokes’ absence due to mental health issues will have a major impact. Players like Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Dane Lawrence, Jack Crowley and Ollie Pope have not looked confident at times and it will be interesting to see how they face Ashwin and Shami.
Teams are as follows
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Lokesh Rahul , Wriddhiman Saha, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prithvi Saw and Suryakumar Yadav.
England: Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Jack Crowley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dane Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Mark Wood .
Time: The match will start at 3.30 pm Indian time.
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